Albany The one week budget extender bill enacted by the State Legislature yesterday included a full restoration of Governor Patersons cut to the Title XX block grant. The Title XX program provides funding throughout the State for Domestic Violence Prevention Programs, Adult Protective Services, and Community Based Services including day care and senior programming.
The Executive Budget contained a reduction to the Title XX program of $37 million, with a $25.2 million cut directed at Senior Centers in New York. If these cuts were to be enacted, it was estimated that anywhere from fifteen to sixty senior centers would have to be shuttered due to the decrease in funding.
Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz (D-Bronx), Chair of the Assembly Aging Committee led the fight in the Assembly to have this essential funding source restored. Assemblyman Dinowitz said we have taken a great step toward preserving the community based network of services in New York City. The cut as proposed by the Governor would have been catastrophic. I am glad that we were able to work together to make sure that senior centers and services are protected in light of these awful financial circumstances facing the state.
Mr. Dinowitz added when the Governor released his budget, my colleagues and I were outraged. Sixty-Five Assembly Members joined together and sent a letter to Speaker Silver stating that the restoration of this money was a major priority of the conference. Given that, I applaud the Speaker for working with the Governor and the Senate to ensure that funding for senior centers be preserved for the upcoming year.
Assemblyman Dinowitz further added that the City of New York cannot put the blame for closing senior centers at the feet of the State Legislature. We have done everything in our power to preserve senior programming in New York City. If senior centers close, it will be because Mayor Bloomberg wanted them to close. Any reductions in the amount or level of services provided will be the Mayors doing. I urge him not to cut senior services in spite of this important restoration.